Sami Blood to screen at Berlin’s NATIVE 2017

The Swedish film Sami Blood, directed by Amanda Kernell, has been selected to screen at the Berlin Film Festival in the indigenous section ‘NATIVe 2017’.

The film follows a teenage girl from a traditional Sámi family who yearns to be accepted by the Swedish society of the 1930s, a society full of prejudice and discrimination against her people. Sami Blood is considered a shrewd commentary on institutionalised abuse and its consequences.

This means that Sami Blood has screened at four of the five major film festivals – Venice, Sundance, Toronto and Berlin. All that’s missing is the Cannes Film Festival.

Each year the Berlin Film Festival has a special section for indigenous cultures. This years’ theme is the cultural sphere of the Sámi, Europe’s only indigenous people.

The Finnish film Kuun metsän Kaisa will open the section. Directed by Katja Gauriloff, the film tells the story of Gauriloff’s charismatic great-grandmother Kaisa. This personal and poetic documentary film effortlessly weaves original film and sound recordings from the 1930s to the 1970s together with animated sequences and folk tales of the Skolt Sámi. It stands as a testament to the eventful history of the Skolt Sámi and their struggle to preserve their unique culture in the wake of resettlements brought about by shifting borders throughout the course of the 20th century.

Other Scandinavian films screening include:

  • Jumalan morsian (A Bride of the Seventh Heaven)

At birth, Syarda was promised as a bride to Num, the highest god of the Nenets. Now an elderly lady, still bound to this fate, she tells the story of her wistful, yet self-determined life to a blind young girl who alleviates her loneliness.

  • Seitsemän laulua tundralta (Seven Songs from the Tundra)

With Vitalina Hudi, Hatjako Yzangi, Gregory Anaguritsi, Nadezhda Volodeeva
A rich contemplation of the Nenets in a seven-part chronicle, each guided by a meaningful song. Once a free people, the Soviet rule arrives to infringe upon their culture, affecting their identity irreversibly. An emotional political statement.

  • SUME – Mumisitsinerup Nipaa (SUMÉ – The Sound of a Revolution)

For the Greenlanders of the 1970s, the surge of the progressive rock band SUME was mind-blowing: lyrics in their own language, inspiring them to act against the repression of their people. This is the compelling testimony to their revolution.

Films from Russia, Canada, Greenland, and the Nordics will screen in the section.

View the whole programme here. 


Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.

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